Abby Morenigbade joined CollegeSpring this summer as a Partnerships Coordinator, a position where she collaborates with local schools to help them implement our SAT curriculum. She double majored in Government and Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College. Abby then spent a year as a Princeton in Africa Fellow, working as a college counselor at Ashinaga Uganda. In this role, she offered college counseling to orphaned students from sub-Saharan African countries.
Abby understands high school students who aren’t thrilled to take the SAT. For her, the test was “one of the things that I was freaking out about.” She wishes now that she had thought of the SAT as a way to unlock educational opportunities, not just another hurdle to leap: “I think for a lot of students and for a lot of teachers–myself included, when I was in high school–the SAT was a very stupid test, and it was very frustrating. I didn’t understand. You know, we had two valedictorians, and I was one of them, but I still had to take the test twice because the first time it wasn’t good.”
The conversation below has been edited for brevity and clarity.
How has it been different to be a Partnerships Coordinator than to be a teacher like you were before?
It’s different in that I don’t have face-to-face time with students. When I was in Uganda, I was doing college-counseling work, but I also did something similar to Partnerships. We didn’t have people on the ground helping us to do the interviews for the students. We couldn’t go to Somalia. We couldn’t go to South Sudan. So we had to partner up with other organizations.
What do you want to achieve this school year?
I would love to see schools and partners excited about this opportunity. If the school’s super excited, and if the teachers are super excited, and they see the value in it, it’ll trickle down to the students.
One of CollegeSpring’s core values is “Equity is our aim.” Could you talk a little about how that informs you and motivates your work?
I came to the US in 2007, and we’ve been living in the Bronx since then. When I was looking for high schools, I specifically was looking at high schools in Manhattan because I knew that they were, like, a hundred times better than the ones in the Bronx. And so I went to school an hour and fifteen minutes away from my house so that I could get a good education that would allow me to get money to go to college.
Students shouldn’t have to travel an hour and a half, go to a whole different borough, just because they think that’s their main opportunity for getting good test prep, getting into a good college, or having access to a college counselor. People should be able to go to school near their house without it being a huge problem.
What special challenges and opportunities do you think our teachers and students face?
I think an opportunity that both teachers and students have is having a different relationship with the SAT. A lot of the students may think, “Oh, I’m not a good test-taker, I can’t do well.” . But building this Test Confidence, knowing that they can gain the skills from our curriculum, they can build their motivation through setting goals for themselves for the SAT through the SEL [social-emotional learning] component of the curriculum.
What do you like to do when you’re not at CollegeSpring?
I like to read. I did both political science and psychology [in college], and I try to read journals. I also like to read fiction and blogs and magazines.
Any good books you’ve read lately?
I read Michelle Obama’s Becoming. It was amazing, and I love the First Lady even more.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you? About CollegeSpring?
One of my first impressions was that this is an organization that cares. It cares about the staff. We care about students, and we care about our partners.